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New York City Board of Elections

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Board of Elections in the City of New York (NYCBOE)
New York City Board of Elections Seal.jpg
Agency overview
JurisdictionNew York City
Headquarters32 Broadway New York, New York
Parent agencyNew York State Board of Elections
Key document
Websitevote.nyc

The Board of Elections in the City of New York (NYCBOE) conducts New York elections within New York City. It is an administrative body of ten Commissioners, two from each borough upon recommendation by both political parties and then appointed by the New York City Council for a term of four years.

The NYCBOE has been characterized as rife with nepotism and dysfunction.[1] The structure of the NYCBOE is enshrined in the New York state constitution.[1] The NYCBOE is run in a bipartisan manner, as each job position held by a Democrat must have a duplicated position for a Republican.[1] The staff in the organization are political appointees rather than professional staff.[1]

History and criticism

The Board has come under fire for errors and mismanagement in a number of elections:[2]

  • During the April 2016 primary election, many Brooklyn voters were surprised and angered to learn that they had been purged from the voting rolls (their voter registrations were canceled). The board's chief clerk in Brooklyn was suspended shortly after the primary.[6][7] City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer and State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman both opened investigations against the board, and in November 2016, Common Cause New York filed a lawsuit against the Board.[7] The U.S. Department of Justice[6][8] and the New York State Attorney General's Office both subsequently moved to join the lawsuit.[8] The lawsuit alleged that the Board had improperly carried out a voter purge in late 2013 or early 2014 that violated federal law.[7] The purge affected some 125,000 Democratic voters.[6] It aimed to remove people who had not voted since 2008 from the voter rolls, but the lawsuit alleged that (1) the Board had failed to check whether the removed persons had died or moved out of the city, as required by federal law and (2) more than 4,100 of the voters flagged for removal had in fact voted at least once since 2008.[7] In November 2017, the Board settled the lawsuit, entering into a consent decree in which the Board admitted that the purges were unlawful and agreed to reform and monitoring dealing with voter registration, list maintenance, and staff training; the Board also agreed "to review every voter registration cancelled since July 1, 2013, determine whether the cancellations were justified under law, and reinstate, to appropriate status, any registrations that were improperly cancelled."[9]
  • In September 2020, the Board was criticized after up to 100,000 Brooklyn voters received absentee ballots with incorrect names and addresses.[10] The error involved "mismatched names and addresses on the outer and inner mail-back envelopes" and was attributed to a vendor's printing error.[2] The mayor and voters criticized the BOE for the failure.[2]

Role and responsibilities

The Board of Elections in the City of New York, as provided under Election Law § 3-200, is responsible for:[11]

  1. Conducting fair and honest elections, from local to federal levels: the preparation of the ballot for primary, special and general elections to the extent that all vacancies for public office and party positions may be filled.
  2. Enfranchising all eligible New Yorkers to register to vote and to practice those rights: that qualified voters may exercise their right to franchise and that every opportunity be given to voters to execute that right and to vote for whom they choose.
  3. Conducting elections, certifying the canvass and retaining the official records: that the votes of the electorate at primary, special and general elections be properly canvassed and that a true count be given for each candidate voted for.
  4. Voter outreach and education: that the Board makes every effort to inform and educate the voting public of their rights as voters and also to reach out to all Americans to instruct them in the voting process.

The Board is responsible under the Election Law for the following:

  • Voter registration, outreach and processing
  • Maintaining and updating voter records
  • Processing and verification of candidate petitions/documents
  • Campaign finance disclosures of candidates and campaign committees
  • Recruiting, training and assigning the various Election Day officers to conduct elections
  • Operating poll site locations
  • Maintaining, repairing, setup and deployment of the Election Day operation equipment
  • Ensuring each voter their right to vote at the polls or by absentee ballot
  • Canvassing and certification of the vote
  • Voter education, notification and dissemination of election information
  • Preparation of maps of various political subdivisions

Organization and structure

The Board is made up of ten commissioners, two from each of the five boroughs of New York City, appointed by the City Council for four-year terms. One member from each borough is appointed by each of the two parties whose candidates got the most votes in the last gubernatorial election. Since the top two candidates in the last election represented the Republican Party and the Democratic Party, the Republican Party and the Democratic Party get five representatives each on the Board of Elections. The ten Commissioners meet once a week.[12] Day-to-day operations of the BOE are led by an appointed Executive Director and Deputy Executive Director, who oversee a "similar bipartisan arrangement of over 351 deputies, clerks and other personnel ensures that no one party controls the Board of Elections."[12]

City & State notes, "The Board of Elections is unique in that it is one of the city's few truly bipartisan administrative bodies, with five commissioners from each party overseeing its operations. While members consider this structure the best way to run fair and balanced elections, others contend that it engenders gridlock, as commissioners from both parties are not necessarily working toward a common interest but instead trying to ensure that the elections play out in their party's favor."[5] For example, former state Assemblyman Michael Benjamin, who formerly was an elections clerk in the Bronx, "said that he witnessed firsthand the hyperpartisan nature of the board when two deputy clerks in Brooklyn and Staten Island gave conflicting instructions to their staff and refused to work together, creating confusion on the ground level" that inhibited the ability of the mayor and City Council to trust the Board to properly use funding.[5]

The mayor has no power over the BOE.[2] Mayor Michael Bloomberg was a vocal critic of the Board, which was the subject of complaints over its administration of elections, and called for the Board to become a mayoral agency rather than an independent body.[13]

List of commissioners

Current commissioners
Borough Commissioner Commissioner
Manhattan Tiffany Townsend (D) Frederic M. Umane (R) (Secretary)
The Bronx Miguelina Camilio (D) Gino A. Marmorato (R)
Brooklyn VACANT (D) Simon Shamoun (R)
Queens Jose Miguel Araujo (D) Michael Michel (R)
Staten Island Patricia Anne Taylor (D) (President) John Wm. Zaccone (R)

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c d Rosenthal, Brian M.; Rothfeld, Michael (2020-10-26). "Inside Decades of Nepotism and Bungling at the N.Y.C. Elections Board". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-10-26.
  2. ^ a b c d Dana Rubinstein & Luis Ferré-Sadurní, Nearly 100,000 Defective Absentee Ballots Sent to N.Y.C. Voter, New York Times (September 29, 2020): The problems in New York are yet another blemish for the New York City Board of Elections, which is run by a board of Democrats and Republicans, and has a long history of mismanaging elections.
  3. ^ "'Byzantine' Vote-Counting Process In NYC Draws Criticism". Associated Press. March 31, 2012.
  4. ^ a b c Chen, David W. (July 11, 2012). "New York City Elections Board Chafes at Criticism, but Seeks Improvements". New York Times.
  5. ^ a b c d Nick Powell (November 19, 2012). "New York City Board of Elections: Unlucky or Incompetent?". Archived from the original on 2013-05-18.
  6. ^ a b c Vivian Yee (April 23, 2016). "Routine Voter Purge Is Cited in Brooklyn Election Trouble". New York Times.
  7. ^ a b c d Vivian Yee (January 12, 2017). "Justice Dept. Seeks to Join Suit Over 117,000 Purged Brooklyn Voters". New York Times.
  8. ^ a b City Board of Elections Admits It Broke the Law, Accepts Reforms, WNYC News (October 24, 2017).
  9. ^ A.G. Schneiderman Announces Major Settlement With NYC Board Of Elections Over Voter Registration Purges, New York State Attorney General's Office (November 1, 2017).
  10. ^ Lines Stretch for Blocks as New Yorkers Turn Out for Early Voting, New York Times (October 24, 2020).
  11. ^ Board of Elections of the City of New York 2010 Annual Report.
  12. ^ a b Annual Report 2017, New York City Board of Elections.
  13. ^ Azi Paybarah, An accidental revolution at the Board of Elections, Politico (February 8, 2013).

External links

This page was last edited on 26 October 2020, at 19:03
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